The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87321   Message #1632306
Posted By: The Shambles
21-Dec-05 - 02:14 PM
Thread Name: PRS at it again!!
Subject: RE: PRS at it again!!

The following posted on

Here's the local paper article: Published: 14th December 2005
by the Macclesfield Express. (It is likely that this is where the Daily
Telegraph got it from initially - available on-line.)


Music shop boss Steve Kowalski has been told he will have to pay to play if
his customers want to try out his instruments before they buy. And that, he
says, is a fiddle.

The Performing Rights Society claims he needs a licence if he, or any of his
punters, want to "have a go" on anything from a harmonica to a harpsichord
or castanets to clarinets. And officers have told him that if he doesn¹t
stump up cash to the tune of £114 he will have to face the music.

But Steve, 53, who is gob-smacked by the order, said: "They can go whistle!"
He says he wants the threat removing ­ no strings attached! Talking from
his shop, the well-established Jones Music on Charlotte Street in
Macclesfield, he asked: "Has anyone used their common sense here?"

Steve, who took over the 78-year-old established business a year ago,
received a call out of the blue from PRS who asked if he or his customers
tried out musical instruments. He said: "I thought, what a daft question,
of course we do."

When he said they did, they told him that if anyone played a riff ­ an
identifiable piece of music ­ he was in breach of copyright and was breaking
the law. "They said it constituted a public performance!" he gasped. "I
thought someone was winding me up.

"I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. It means that
customers will either have to try something out without the piece sounding
melodious or they will have to buy it untried. "I am certainly not going to
pay for a licence. I am making a stand for all musical instrument shops who
are just going about their business."

When Steve, who lives in Macclesfield with partner Sally, asked PRS what
they were going to do about it, they told him they would send in their
copyright protection squad. "I could tell that meant trouble," he said.

Steve, who himself plays lead guitar in a band, ironically called "Rough
Trade", said the cost of the licence was also determined by the size of the
shop and since Jones Music was 1,500 square feet he would be in for a £114
bill. "It¹s not the money," he said. "It is the principle. I don¹t intend
to rock over this one."

Keith Gilbert, PRS Performance Sales Director said: "Music shops pay like
everyone else, but get a 30 per cent discount if their only music use is for
demonstration purposes." "Royalties are crucial ­ they keep songwriters and
musicians writing more music. And royalties are paid by everyone that plays
music in public.

Pat Hills